Vitamin D Linked to Type 1 Diabetes
The researchers tested 100 patients with type 1 diabetes who were between 5 and 20 years old. The patients were tested for levels of vitamin D and its related metabolites and nutrients along the vitamin D pathway (serum calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D).
The research found among the diabetes patients that 71% were either vitamin D deficient or had insufficient levels of vitamin D in the body – as measured by serum 25OHD. Only 29% had normal levels (above 10 ng/mL) of 25OHD.
In addition, those patients with less than 10 ng/mL of vitamin D (serum 26OHD) required significantly more insulin than those patients who had serum 25OHD levels over 10 ng/mL. This indicated clearly that diabetes severity was directly associated with vitamin D availability in the body.
The researchers tested the patients over the next year, and found the results consistent.
The research, led by Dr. Ozgul Thnc, concluded that vitamin D plays “an important role in the glucose/insulin metabolism.” Their findings were clear: “We found a significantly higher insulin requirement in type 1 diabetes mellitus children with decreased serum 25OHD levels and decreased insulin sensitivity.”
Insulin sensitivity is related to the cells readily accepting insulin, which escorts glucose into the cell. When cells become less sensitive to insulin, the bloodstream is flooded with unabsorbed glucose, creating high blood sugar levels. This in turn creates numerous health problems, ranging from obesity to heart disease.
Previous studies have linked type 2 diabetes and vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is found in a limited number of foods and there are vitamin D supplements. The most available source of vitamin D is the sun.
Thnc O, Cetinkaya S, Kizilgün M, Aycan Z. Vitamin D status and insulin requirements in children and adolescent with type 1 diabetes. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2011;24(11-12):1037-41.